How to make a business sign: Factors to consider in 2021

Helen Davies
Helen Davies
- 11 min read

You want to get noticed, but more importantly, you want to get noticed in a positive way. That’s one of the reasons business signs as a tool for brand recognition is so vital to success.

Did you know more than half of the people passing by your business or store will decide whether to enter it or not merely by judging how it looks from the outside? 

Since you’re reading this article, you are probably already wondering how to make business signs. You probably have a lot of questions – like where to start, what to consider while making it, and where to get it made. Well, that’s exactly what we’ll be covering! By the time you finish reading, you’ll know exactly how to make a good sign for business purposes.

How to make a business sign 

Before any construction begins, it’s important to decide the business sign type that will best reflect your marketing and brand messaging. From trade show displays to solutions for store and event branding, there are multiple factors you’ll want to keep in mind, and we go into depth with all of them below.

Factor 1. The best sign type for making a business sign 

There are many signage options available, and it can feel like an overwhelming task to pick the one best for you. The two big factors you should consider when choosing a sign type are 1) the desired location, and 2) the lighting you need.

Choosing the location

Choosing the right location is one of the most significant aspects for potential success with your sign. Anyone walking or driving bу уоur store should have their attention captured. Or, when getting into the store, your signage should make a convincing impression for them to stay. So which should you get, an outdoor sign or an indoor one? Let’s take a look at both.

Example from New Road's branding showing how to make a business sign for outdoor and indoor

How to make an outdoor business sign

Not only does this sign point the way, it’s perfect fоr grabbing the attention оf nеw customers. It lets passersby knоw where you are, and whо уоu аrе аѕ a brand. Never underestimate the ability a good sign has at piquing curiosity and welcoming people in. Here are the most important things you should take into account:

  • Use easy-to-read fonts 

If your sign contains text (other than your logo), you need to choose clear, pleasant and accessible fonts and lettering. Remember, signs in outdoor spaces require good readability from a long distance. In this case, a sans-serif font is a good solution. This includes Helvetica, Arial, and Myriad fonts.

Shegerian & Associates' interior branding

Here you can see 5 famous font types for signs.

  •  Place the sign keeping movement in mind 

Proper placement is an important factor. Drivers will need enough time to register your sign. In the International Sign Association’s guide for “Design and placement of signs” it is told that if you are driving 45-50 mph per hour, the outdoor pylon signs, stands or building signs should be visible from 220 feet away. 

Example from Sixt's branding showing how to make an outdoor business sign

  • Coordinate colors and contrast

Try to maintain the best visibility and avoid certain combinations that are difficult for the eyes. There is a general rule which suggests using a light background with dark lettering, and you can’t go wrong with that. You can also do the opposite. But a dark background with dark lettering is a poor choice. This is particularly the case for window signs. Black and white is considered as the best combination, with yellow on black a close second.  

Dr. Kevin Hirano branding example on how to design a business sign for windows

How to make an Indoor business sign

Interior signs should complement your brand. Use them to match your company’s identity in a way that works with your space. They can be effective for walls, floors, doors, windows – even ceilings. Here’s what you need to know for indoor signage: 

  • Repeat your logo

It’s the logo signs you place in front of your stores that direct customers inside. Once they’ve walked in, it’s time to reinforce your brand image in their minds. Does your storefront sign have a logo? The best way to reaffirm visitors’ decision to spend time with you is to repeat your branding inside via lobby signs.

Liftique interior branding

  •  Direct your customers

Visitors pay attention to directional signs that tell them what to do or where to go. Start with using the signs as a helpful guide. Then you can get creative and add arrows, details, etc.

Corporate interior design example showing how to design a directional business sign

  • Clarify and simplify your sign

You shouldn’t include too much text information on your sign. Try to make it readable and easy to understand with one glance. After all, who wants to study a sign for five minutes to figure it out? And it should be easy to see both from a distance and close in. 

Example from Sandoval Law's interior branding showing how to make a simple business sign

Choosing the lighting when making a business sign

Illumination tremendously increases visibility and brand recognition. This type of sign attracts customers not only throughout the day but also into the night. Even if you’re closed, people will see your sign and make a mental note for later. You can choose from illuminated, non-illuminated and semi-illuminated options.

How to make a light up business sign

Light up signs are the most powerful form of inexpensive advertising for your company. If your store is located in a busy area, brightness will definitely help you get noticed. But they aren’t just for outdoor use. With the help of custom light up signs, whether you choose light box signs, channel letters or other solutions, you can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere indoors. While considering how to make a light up business sign, pay attention to the following criteria:

  • Use LEDs to get better illumination

LEDs have a lot of pros. They are much brighter than other types of sign lighting and have a long lifespan. They’ve become a popular signage option due to their low power consumption and endurance. This type allows you to install them in different spaces for different uses. And since they are compact in size, you can install as many or as few as you need to get the desired result.

Example from Dalma Garden Mall's interior design showing how to make a light-up business sign

  • Choose the right color scheme

Lights can affect the sign colors, but there’s no need to worry about differences if you do a little homework.  You can learn more by researching Color mixing with LEDs.

Dripp illuminated branding solution

  • Check the limits on brightness

Your lighting should be bright enough to rival other signs in the area. That said, in many cities there are laws regarding sign brightness, so before mounting it you should investigate what limits there might be in your area.

Releve Studios' illuminated exterior design

How to make a semi-illuminated business sign 

If a fully lighted sign doesn’t fit your needs, then semi-illuminated options are the perfect solution for you. Read on to learn about how to design a business sign using semi-direct and semi-indirect lighting. 

  • Create a design with semi-direct lighting

Use semi-direct lighting in places where there is no need for strong light. They also work to create shadow patterns on walls. Do not use them in offices where there are strong lights on the work tables.

Displaying how a business sign with semi direct lighting is made

  • Create a design with semi-indirect lighting

Use marquee signs with semi-indirect lighting to illuminate a wider area. This lighting makes the room feel light, warm, and welcoming. The best way to create this effect is with the help of LED strips.  

Showcasing how a business sign with semi-indirect lighting is made

How to make a non-illuminated business sign

If your business doesn’t operate when it’s dark out, you may have no need for illumination. In that case, non-illuminated signage is the best solution. You’ll still catch customers and you can get creative. Let’s take a look.

  • Use dimension

One of the best uses of a non-lighted sign is with dimensions. To attract your customers’ attention without lighting, you can use 3D letter signs. They are available in different types of materials such as aluminum, acrylic, and PVC. 

Example from GVNG's interior design showing how to design a dimensional business sign

Got an idea for your sign? Contact us and get started now!

Factor 2. The best material for making a business sign

After deciding the location and lighting of your sign, now it’s time to figure out what kind of material it should be made from. There are many options to choose from based on durability and flexibility.

Material hardness    

Hardness, of course, is a measure of how easily a material can be scratched or indented. Let’s take a look at different options:

  • Aluminum signs are the best for outdoor usage

Aluminum is water-resistant which is one reason why it’s suggested for outdoor signs. It also doesn’t rust, and the look of it is always stylish. 

Despite being thin and lightweight, aluminum is strong. Plus, the thicker it is, the greater the panel strength. So, choosing an aluminum sign means you are guaranteed to have it for a long time. 

Showcasing how an aluminum business sign is made for Hyundai's car salon

  • Acrylic business signs are the best for indoor usage

Choose acrylic signs for your indoor branding. The material gives a translucent look that rivals glass. It’s also a solid choice if you want to display large prints. You can use acrylic for applications that require hardness or scratch resistance, and a glossy look. Though acrylic is tougher and heavier than glass, you can easily transport and install it wherever you want.

The Southern California Center for Surgical Arts interior design

  • Wooden signs never go out of style

With wood, you can get a great decoration or design. It has the greatest panel strength and adds a classy look that is hard to beat. Use wooden signs indoors and in dry conditions. Wood is also a great option to go for as it has many finishing options, and can be carved to display raised or recessed letters. They are the perfect choice for companies that are looking for a “greener” sign. 

Showcasing how to design a wooden business sign for exterior branding

Material flexibility when designing a business sign

Flexible materials can be bent or compressed easily without cracking under normal conditions. Lexan, Styrene, and Vinyl are considered the main flexible materials for making a business sign:

  • Lexan is flexible 

The incredible flexibility of Lexan allows it to be moved any way you want. It’s resistant to ultraviolet illumination, water, and flame. It’s more durable than Acrylic and it doesn’t crack. And the material makes a perfect solution for lighting due to its ability to show more brightness.

Business sign example showing how to make a business sign with lexan

  • Vinyl makes for both a flexible and waterproof business sign 

Choose vinyl lettering for signs that are easy to read from further distances. You can also use the material for wet areas as it’s waterproof. If you want to display graphics and images, Vinyl is the best option to go for as it is easily customizable and has a bright, glossy sheen. 

Example from Fenix People's lobby design showing how to design a sign made of vinyl

  • Styrene is flexible and durable 

Simplify your production with a material that’s both flexible and durable at the same time. PVC signs have a distinctive construction that makes them durable and easy to clean.

Business sign example showing how to make a business sign with styrene

Where to get business signs made

Now that you know all the options to consider for your sign, it’s time to think about where to get business signs made. Let’s take a quick look at the factors business owners should consider when researching sign making companies

Factor 1. A sign company’s experience is a guarantee of your business sign’s success

While doing your research, pay attention to the company’s experience and portfolio.

  • Experience matters for sign making companies

Always look for information about a company’s experience from its website. Have a look at their Linkedin, too. And of course, reviews are important. Trustpilot is a great third-party resource and hosts reviews of businesses worldwide. Yelp is another platform that can help direct you to the right company.

Frontsign's Yelp 5 star review among companies that make business signs

  • Their portfolio shows the quality of past projects

While choosing a company, always check its portfolio. You’ll get a good, in-depth look at their service and prior projects. Pay attention to the latest products they offer, too. Get informed about the design expertise of the company, and what industries they work with most often.

Presentation of Front Signs' portfolio

Factor 2. A company’s supply source is an indicator of professional business sign option

These days it has become easy to bring your sign idea to life with the help of modern equipment and customer support from professional designers. Companies that make business signs should provide: 

  • Modern equipment and methods

When choosing where to get signs made, take into account the latest tools and technology the sign company should be using. For example, modern techniques such as laser cutting allow precise forming and engraving of custom signs. Another modern tool is a CNC milling machine that doesn’t burn natural materials like wood. Physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication are important factors to keep in mind.

Representing dibond aluminum sign CNC milling process

  • Productive support

As you’ve probably gathered, there’s a lot that goes into making a successful sign. It’s a great idea to work with professional designers to ensure you get the most effective signage that represents your brand. Choose a company which provides graphic sign design services and expert 3D rendering. Look through the final digital version of the sign and make any necessary changes if you need to.

Designer working process in business sign making companies

Trust your business sign ideas to our skilled team. We provide: 

  • reliability: high-quality signs with high-quality service
  • responsiveness: we always keep you in the loop and are available for any questions or needs
  • assurance: the experience of a sign making company that knows what it takes to make our customers happy
  • Design help: If you’re not quite sure how to design a business sign, we can help!
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